February Alumnus of the Month: Chuck Berklich

nYVzrePWhen did you play?

I had the privilege to put on the maize and blue jersey for 5 years starting in the fall of 2006. I also played one year in high school and became pretty involved with the club. I really loved how the politics that can exist even at the high school football level were absent.

Any special honors (i.e. Captain, chair positions, Midwest finals, etc.)

We went to Midwest finals in Iowa and on to national finals in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I still remember these trips vividly. The finals were amazing. I actually did not get to play at all in the playoff games leading up to nationals. I was ‘raised’ under a talented group of backs (Tim Farrow, Beau Brodtmann, Inder Dhillon, Barry Walsh, Tyler Richtsmeier, Kevin Mulligan, Aaron “Tex” Dodd, Tom Serbowitz). My most fond memory of Michigan Rugby is still being able to play in the final game. I was sent in to play #10 with about 20 minutes left. We went on to tie and win in overtime. It is astonishing how Michigan Rugby, something so vast and different, can be summed up in an instant. For me, that was that instant. We enjoyed Brazilian steakhouse meals to celebrate.  I spent the last two years micro-managing everything as captain of the club. I dabbled in some select side.

Favorite memory or memories

  • Tour to the Czech Republic. Driving down the autobahn as fast as our rental car could go. Spending a few nights in Amsterdam. Almost losing my dear friend Old Man.
  • Tour to the Bahamas. Volunteering for the Red Cross and fixing up their student learning center to provide them with working internet was probably the best thing I have even done for others. Also, breaking chairs within 5 minutes of leaving the port. Learning songs.
  • Pacific coast prowl. Dollars left all over the ground.
  • Playing years of B side and hearing J-Fed’s pre-game hype speeches.
  • Communist gatherings
  • Two-a-days. The majority of campus going crazy while me and my mates were too sore to move. Training with and leading a group of intelligent, dedicated young men.
  • Deep fryed trash at the Superbowl Superfry

What are you doing now?

I play for the Men’s side-lucrative club really. We play surprisingly good (and bad) rugby at times. Otherwise, I will finish up my degree in pharmacy in April. I also sometimes help volunteer coach for the the high school teams.

Any other interesting stories or info that you can provide

Where I come from, one has to give credit to where credit is due. I look back at the guys that were part of my generation and with whom I have formed life-lasting bonds while running lines on the pitch. Gerrit Yntema, Eoghan McGreevy, Niall O’Kane, Dave Hamilton, Naveen Aravapusapetellon, James “Sauce” Wilber, Oluwatobi Eboda, as well as a lot of young guys who are still playing for the college side currently. Also, credit to Uncle Masso and Dave Perpich. I can’t say enough about Masso’s fishing ability. Dave’s help both on the field and off during my stint in charge has likened him as a father figure to me-I can’t say enough good things about the guy.

Michigan Rugby is different from every other club I have ever known. It’s unclear what it is, but it’s true. The love and passion is evident for everyone who has put on that jersey. The club is changing. It has changed in the past and will continue to change in the future. With Coach Matt Trenary at the helm, and good help in the form of Niall O’Kane and David Hamilton, the club has upped their level of competition on the field. I am lucky to have an influence on what comes from the SAC (Student Advisory Committee) to help guide the future and build an endowment. Some individuals are not excited at the direction of the club. Others have worked hard to continue on this path. What is most important, in my opinion, is to continue forward with that certain intangible that makes Michigan Rugby, Michigan Rugby.

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